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Annie Potts on why Arlo the Alligator Boy is ‘a wonderful piece for the times’

Annie Potts on why Arlo the Alligator Boy is ‘a wonderful piece for the times’ image
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Arlo the Alligator Boy has livened up Netflix since the animated musical premiered on April 16, bringing a little bit of joy to fans everywhere with its uplifting story and talented voice cast.

One of those stars is Annie Potts, whom audiences will recognize not only from her litany of live-action credits, but her voice work in Pixar’s Toy Story franchise and elsewhere.

She joined Netflix Life recently to talk about her personal connection to Arlo, and why she believes the movie is so timely.

Check out our interview with Annie before streaming Arlo the Alligator Boy on Netflix now and diving into the adventure of a boy looking for his father—and finding his family.

Annie Potts on Arlo the Alligator Boy

Netflix Life: Arlo the Alligator Boy is a project that you have a personal connection to. How did you get involved with the movie?

Annie Potts: My oldest, dearest, beloved son [Clay Senechal] is the co-writer of Arlo the Alligator Boy. I waited about 38 years to act in one of his pieces. So of course, I didn’t even ask what the character was. I just said, “Yes, I want to be in that.”

NL: Was there something about the piece that particularly resonated with you once you read it?

AP: I think that it’s a wonderful piece for the times, because it speaks to being different and what that means, and being accepted and finding joy through that and joy in life. I think that it’s a lovely piece for the times in that way.

I think it’s wonderfully charming, and I’m so glad that it’s going to series too, because I think that the characters will be loved and embraced. I think people will want to see more of them. I’m hoping that the birthday song that I sing is going to become a classic; I can tell you it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to memorize.

NL: Is your approach to voice acting similar to what you do for live-action, except without the physical component?

AP: It is remarkably exhausting, because all you have is your voice. None of your muscles are working… just your voice. And to be able to articulate everything that needs to be, and have it be on point in terms of tone and intent and everything, it’s very demanding.

NL: The overall field of animation continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Having worked as a voice actress for decades, do you feel that the genre has gotten any bigger or more developed in your experience?

AP: Ever since animation first began to rapidly develop, after Steamboat Willie came out and [Disney] debuted Mickey Mouse, they became instantly more complex. But the fairytales that they were telling were always reflective of what society felt. I think that that’s only become more obvious with what they do.

But when the market is mostly to delight young ones, then you have the responsibility and the opportunity to direct their mind to larger ideas. Take any of these modern animated films, like in Frozen [or] Toy Story. It’s the kind of stories of friendship and commitment and perseverance, all of that. Those are wonderful, helpful things introduced to children and the adults who sit beside and watch.

It’s such an opportunity. When you win the hearts and minds of children and teach them acceptance, loving other people no matter if they’re different than us, that’s pretty important.

NL: You mentioned your song in Arlo the Alligator Boy; you were last on Broadway in 2014 with Pippin. Any chance we could see you in another Broadway musical someday?

AP: It was a dream come true for me. I would love to do it again. But the show that I’m on, Young Sheldon, just got picked up for three more seasons. So I’m going to be busy doing that show for at least another three years, and it doesn’t leave too much time to do that. But of course, I would. Because it’s where I come from, the theater, and I sure would like to do it again.

Next: Discover more Netflix new releases

Arlo the Alligator Boy is streaming on Netflix now.

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